NGOHP Fellows Explore the Role of Community in Sustainability and Conservation in the Second Juan Health Conversations Webinar

With the hopes of cultivating a greater understanding and interest around the One Health approach for Filipinos, Next Generation One Health Philippines (NGOHP) started Juan Health Conversations, which covers One Health and its applications across different disciplines and sectors in the Philippines. Supported by the International Alliance against Health Risks in Wildlife Trade, NGOHP is one of the projects of the Planetary and Global Health Program (PGHP) of the St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine – William H. Quasha Memorial (SLMCCM-WHQM). 

The second episode of the Juan Health Conversations series discusseds the community’s role in promoting conservation and sustainability.

In the second episode, entitled “Community Participation in Conservation and Sustainability,” held last June 5, 2023, the panelists from NGOHP discussed the vital role of the community in promoting conservation and sustainability. The panelists for this session were:

  • Jackielyn Abela, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science (Social Anthropology) from the University of the Philippines Baguio and is currently taking her masters in Anthropology from Ateneo de Manila University. She is also the assistant director of Palawan Studies Center and head of secretariat at Palawan State University Research Ethics Review Committee.
  • Jayvee Moltio, a nurse by profession who earned his Nursing degree and postgraduate degree in Public Health from Saint Louis University. He currently works as a public health practitioner specializing in health promotion and communication. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Indigenous Studies at the University of the Philippines Baguio focusing on Medical Anthropology. Jayvee is also an Indigenous person belonging to the Ibaloy and Kankana-ey groups of Benguet Province.
  • Jabez Flores, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), a Master’s in Environment and Natural Resources Management (major in Upland Resources Management) from the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science (cognate in Development Communication) from UPLB. He has also taken a Ph.D. course on Landscape Ecology at the International Association of Landscape Ecology-Europe Chapter in Milan, Italy. He currently works as a Senior Lecturer at the Science Department of the UP Rural High School and at the Faculty of Management and Development Studies of UPOU and as the project leader for Permaculture Research Philippines.
  • Jose De Luna, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture with a major in Entomology and a master’s degree in Entomology (Insecticide Toxicology) from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He works as an assistant professor in UPLB, teaching courses on agriculture and entomology. He has worked on research projects related to the study of bio-ecology of insect pests (and biological control agents) and their management in different crops. His current research interests are focused on the study of bio-ecology and management of urban insect pests with zoonotic importance.

The panelists drew from their experiences to emphasize the importance of engaging communities in order to achieve shared goals in conservation and sustainability.

Specifically, the need to involve the community in policies and decision-making was highlighted, as well as the need to establish trust and understanding while valuing local beliefs and practices that are often rooted in culture and tradition. The panelists also reminded the audience that engagement with the community should not end with projects, and that conservation and sustainability efforts must go beyond research and programs. Policymakers must continuously involve the community in decision-making processes and initiatives as these directly impact their lives.

“During my study, I found out that wildlife trade is still happening on the ground, and that it is because our local communities are not engaged in the full implementation of the law,” said Jackielyn Abela. “If we reach out to them and include them in policy making, there’s a meeting point in which we can engage them and include them in its formulation and implementation.”

“We have to identify the needs of the community, and to do that we need to build relationships with people on the ground,” said Dr. Jabez Flores. “Sustainability is not just about protecting the environment, it is also about supporting and empowering the communities around it.” 

The first episode of Juan Health Conversations, held last April 22, 2023, explored the link between wildlife and pandemics, and how human activities both mitigate and amplify the risk of zoonotic spillover events. The final episode, entitled “One Health in Policy and Governance,” will be held on August 28, 2023. For more information, you may visit the NGOHP website or our Facebook page.

The recording of the second episode can be found here.